Citizens of Morelos have taken to social media to denounce alleged attempts by the state government to appropriate food, medicine and other items donated to victims of the 7.1. magnitude earthquake that struck September 19.
Mexican newspaper El Universal reported Sunday that the population has grown weary of Morelos’s state government, headed by Gov. Graco Luis Ramírez Garrido Abreu, in the midst of claims accusing authorities of diverting donations to warehouses owned by the state’s Family Development Agency (DIF). According to the accusations, the government intends to appropriate donations and mark them as their own, effectively monopolizing aid to garner voter sympathy.
Allegations began popping up on social media days after the earthquake. A video that has been making the rounds on Twitter since Friday shows Cuernavaca Bishop Ramón Castro saying authorities stopped three trucks carrying aid to a relief center in the city of Jantetelco. The trucks were allegedly taken to a warehouse owned by the state’s DIF by orders of the agency’s chief Elena Cepeda de León, wife of Gov. Graco Ramírez Garrido.
Another video shows a group of men scrapping stickers from the side of a truck carrying aid relief sent by the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). The stickers bore UNAM’s name, marking it as the source of the items donated.
Mexican actress Barbara Mori uploaded a video showing what is claimed to be a crowd trying to stop authorities from taking a truck filled with food and other items for quake victims. “The government is redirecting trucks filled with aid for Cuernavaca to their warehouses. Please share!” she wrote. In a tweet responding to the video, Mexican pop star Belinda said that one of the trucks sent by her to aid victims had also been confiscated by authorities.
El gobierno está desviando los camiones con toda la ayuda en Cuernavaca para llevarlos a bodegas. Ayudan a difundir por favor! pic.twitter.com/Y7v2EFAwCp
— Barbara Mori (@Delamori) 22 de septiembre de 2017
Morelos authorities have denied the accusations, saying they are a source of confusion that has lead to pillaging. El Universal reported that a DIF warehouse that held around 90 tons worth of aid items was raided by citizens in Cuernavaca on September 22. According to State Security Commissioner Jesús Alberto Capella Ibarra, the incident was caused by a social media post that called for people to assemble at the warehouse, which it claimed held food and other items confiscated by the state government to be marked later and distributed as state donations. Apparently the assembly intended to load the items into trucks and distribute them themselves, but it appears not all of the cargo made it to its destiny, according to Capella Ibarra.
The assault on the warehouse was captured by surveillance cameras. State authorities have been able to identify 25 of the persons involved.